By Colleen O'Connor
If Stormy Daniels is getting rich off this book, she deserves every penny—and then some.
And look what Daniels achieved even before her new book hit the shelves:
- Broke a publishing record with “the fastest publication of a book authored by a presidential mistress, eclipsing Gennifer Flowers’ Passion and Betrayal by 211 days”
- Has educated Americans on non-disclosure agreements, “catch and kill” journalism, “hush money,” and the ritual of securing, sequestering, and silencing mistresses—even when consensual
- Forced President Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, into court proceedings that produced guilty pleas and an unindicted co-conspirator label for the President
- Elicited multiple lawsuits and death threats
- Launched an unending operatic drama that engulfs cable, mainstream news and social media
- Defied the President, broken her NDA, and delivered the largest audience for “60 Minutes” in a decade, while simultaneously blocking a proposed Cohen book deal worth a million-dollar advance
- Coincidentally, prompted Melania Trump to escape the book launch mania, with a five-day solo trip to Africa.
Almost single-handedly, Stormy Daniels has blown up America’s image of itself.
Not the image of the Presidency–there is an entire cottage industry of books by mistresses of Presidents –but the belief Americans hold about the nation’s claim to “exceptionalism,” stability, and the rule of law.
That is why she remains a seminal part of whatever history this era produces.
Just as a supernova explodes and shoots debris into space, Stormy Daniels’ claims about a tryst with Trump have subsequently caused more legal, political, social, and even economic debris to roam the universe than calculable.
How did this happen? And why?
How did Stormy Daniels, possessor of a photographic memory, a straight-A student in high school, editor of the school paper, become a porn star and ensnare a President?
Simple answer: an horrific childhood. And the courage to “brave the wilderness.”
The most compelling chapters are the early ones.
They tell of an unwanted child, forced upon an unwilling father, constantly moving, saddled with a once “great mom” who became near demented when divorced.
The two of them lived in a crack-infested neighborhood, according to Daniels, in a filthy house where “rats moved in…their poop was everywhere. The real problem was the roaches.”
Often the electricity was turned off for non-payment. And food was non-existent. So, she hung out with her best friend, Vanessa, at a neighbor’s house.
“I was nine. I was a child, and then I wasn’t,” Daniels writes. “It was the start of two years of this man sexually assaulting me. He was raping Vanessa, so I put myself between them, continually offering myself up so he would leave her alone.”
“In my world, adults were not people who helped you.”
When the police finally investigated, Daniels’ mother closed the door on them and explained, “Because if I let them in they’ll take you away and I’ll never see you again.” That at age 11.
What follows is an escape plan that led to topless bars and strip clubs.
Then there was the money. In her first appearance, “I made eighty-five dollars, more money in those two songs than I made answering phones all week.”
“Do the math,” she writes. “I love capitalism.” She is a Republican.
She watched, learned and listened. Redheads got bigger tips. She dyed her hair. Big breasts got even bigger tips, and photo shoots, cover shots, and movies. She did it all.
Then came road trips, lots of trysts or “serial monogamy,” with musicians on tour, other “refuges of the road,” and lots of “running away with the circus.”
She even ran for office, because “politics can’t be any dirtier of a job than the one I am in.” Her campaign slogan was, “Stormy Daniels. Screwing People Honestly.”
As she learned, she realized who you know is what moves you up the food chain. And she found Donald Trump. Or, he found her.
And the rest, as they say, “is history.”
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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